Author Archives: Donn

Ducati January 13, 2016 posted by Donn

Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748

Probably going to light up the switchboard with this pick, an older, junior Ducati - non-S ( let alone -R ), PITA to ride in town.  But this last-year base model, lightly ridden with a lot of nice updates, and - wait for it - cam belt maintenance ! - has a lot of good attributes and is kind of pushing my buttons.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right

2002 Ducati 748 for sale on eBay

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front left

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left rear

Accompanying the 916 to the showrooms from 1994-2002, the 748 used the chassis and crankcase from the 916 and smaller heads.  The resulting 97 hp came at a higher 11,000 rpm, and the bike used lower overall gearing, increasing it's street fun factor.  The 748 has close ratio transmission and of course a dry clutch.  43mm front forks are from Showa, with a Boge monoshock on the progressively linked single-sided swingarm.  Two-into-two exhaust snakes around the swingarm and up under the seat.  A picture of the now-classic fairing is next to the word Ducati in the encyclopedia, this one with monoposto seat fairing and number plate.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 cockpit

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right front

Offered by the original owner with just 3,400 miles, this 748 was obviously somebody's baby.  Beside the Arrow titanium exhaust and Power Commander, there has been attention to the clutch, rear sprocket, and chain.  The body updates include seat fairing, body-color mirrors, Dzus fasteners for the side fairings, and carbon here and there.  As listed in the eBay auction:

  • Arrow Titanium Exhaust
  • Power Commander Fuel Injection Module with Custom Dyno Mapping
  • Ducati OEM Mono-Tail Body & Seat Conversion
  • Ducati OEM Red Mirror Conversion
  • OEM Quick Release Fairing Fastener Conversion
  • Billet Aluminum Brake Reservoir Covers
  • Hardened Aluminum Rear Sprocket
  • Titanium Sprocket Bolts
  • Billet Aluminum Sprocket Carrier Conversion
  • RK 520 Gold Chain
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Chainguard
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Cover
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Pressure plate
  • Pauli Moto Billet Clutch Pressure Plate Spyder
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Mid-Pipe Heat Shield
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Sprocket Cover
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Heel Guards
  • New Pirelli Diablo Tires
  • Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame
  • Ducati Performance Soft Cover

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right peg

Not super high-res photos, but the bike looks excellent.  Maintenance on the easy-revving engine shouldn't be deferred because of rocker arm concerns, and the bike has recent cam belts and tires.  A little easier on the cooling system, the 748 is friendlier to road use, as long as you can handle the racey ergonomics.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right rear

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left peg

Because of their long model run it'd be hard to call a 748 rare, but as always really nice ones are never around when you're looking.  Many found their way to the track and the slippery slope of modification and the generation's very successful competition history.  The similar way the two sizes of superbike are built you'd have to think Ducati either lost money on the lower priced 748, or made a bunch on each 916 or 996.  Though an -R or -S would be nice, the 748, especially cared for as this one, is a lot of bike for the money...

20160112 2002 ducati 748 rear


Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748
MV Agusta January 11, 2016 posted by Donn

MV Agusta 3, Robots 1 – 2004 MV Agusta F4 SPR

Featured in the 2004 film i,ROBOT, the MV Agusta F4 SPR tumbles in an early action sequence and give its all to take out a few wayward automatons.  Unlikely more than a few moviegoers knew of MV Augusta's recent revival with Cagiva backing, still less knew what a bike Hollywood had just sacrificed for the film.  The Special Production Racing limited edition was a very special 750, lighter and more powerful than most larger displacement sportbikes.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right

2004 MV Agusta F4 SPR for sale on eBay

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left front

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left rear

The F4 750 was the inaugural MV Agusta after Cagiva purchased the trademark, and outside help was enlisted to ensure success.  The 749cc transverse inline 4 was derived from the early 1990's Ferrari F1 engine, and the F4 continues to use the radial valve layout today, in the 1000cc engine.  Thanks to 12:1 compression and an updated cylinder head, power is spectacular for a middleweight - 146 hp at 13,000 rpm.  The grey steel trellis frame connects to massive 50mm upside-down front forks from Marzocchi, with nitride hardening.  Rear suspension is a single-sided swingarm sprung by a Sachs damper.  Bespoke Nissin brakes are 310mm in front with 6-piston calipers, and 210mm rear.   Exhaust is updated for the SPR, and the factory offered three optional rear sprockets to adjust gearing.  The satin black bodywork is set off by silver graphics, and carbon front fender, intake covers with CRC ( Castiglioni Research Center ) emblem, and swingarm guards.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr cockpit

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right fairing

A speed-oriented exotic requires exercise and maintenance, and this SPR has had both.  It looks pretty flawless with 6,800 miles.  Just a couple of clear lenses and an HID headlight have been added.  From the eBay auction:

I am the second owner and purchased this bike in the summer of 2005. The previous owner only put approximately 3000 miles on the odometer before selling it to me to purchase another toy. Since the bike has been in my care I have only put an additional 3700 miles on the odometer through occasional weekend rides. The bike has never been taken to the track or abused. I have always stored the bike with a dust cover inside my garage hooked up to a battery tender. The bike is currently housed at my office. The bike is completely stock except for the clear turn signal lenses and HID headlight. All the carbon fiber pieces are OEM. The bike starts every time and runs perfectly. All functions work on the bike as well.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right rear

I recently performed the following maintenance items at approximately 6500 miles:
-Oil and filter change with AMSOIL synthetic
-Coolant flush
-Brake fluid flush (Front and Rear)
-New fuel filter
-New fuel pump
-New fuel hoses
-Professional Fuel Injector Cleaning by RC Engineering
-New NGK Platinum Spark Plugs
-I also performed a valve check on the bike at about 5000 miles and found all of them to be within factory tolerances with no adjustments needed.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left fairing

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right front wheel

Reviewed as a chore in town and a dream on the open road, the SPR isn't super light at just over 400 lbs, but the power comes on strong around 7,000 rpm pulling strong right to the nearly 14,000 rpm redline.  A sweet handler with Ohlins adjustable steering damper, the F4 SPR can make quick work of straights and turns.  For this level of performance and in such fine shape, even the buy-it-now seems reasonable.  Shame if even one real F4 SPR was sacrificed making the movie...

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr front


Suzuki January 8, 2016 posted by Donn

Re-Upped – 1999 Suzuki TL1000R

Fully faired and with re-designed chassis, Suzuki's TL1000R provided a short-term home for their wonderful 996cc V-twin.  Originally built to compete with Ducati for Superbike wins and sales, the factory returned to the four-cylinder formula for racing in 2004.  The distinctive sound of the TL-R's chain and gear cam drive, also used in the Bimota SB8K, lives on in this very clean example.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right

1999 Suzuki TL1000R for sale on eBay

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left front

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left rear

Re-tuned from the TL1000S for more top-end power, the TLR reviewed as having easier access to the 11,000 rpm rev limiter, though peak power of 135hp is back at 9,500 rpm.  As with most big twins, torque is excellent at 79 ft-lbs.  Triple adjustable 43mm front forks are helped by an oversized steering damper, as well as geometry changes from the -S.   Rear spring and damper are separate, the shock absorber being a rotary rather than pushrod type, all in the name of keeping the wheelbase manageable with the long engine.  Brakes got a nice update with the 6-piston Tokico calipers in front, riding 320mm disks.  The fairing is wide for a tandem twin and provides good protection, dual high and low beams, ram air intakes, and a Hayabusa-style hump hiding the passenger seat.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r cockpit

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left muffler

Looking excellent with just about 16,000 miles, the owner has added carbon mufflers with ecu re-flash, smaller turn signals, and a few carbon accents.  He also reviews recent maintenance in the eBay auction:

The bike has thousands of dollars in aftermarket upgrades and accessories below is a list:

1. Full M4 Stainless steel exhaust system with Carbon cans (This exhaust sounds just like a Jap bike should)
2. Carbon Fiber Rear Hugger
3. Carbon Fiber look Air Dam Surrounds
4. Shorty turn signals front and rear
5. Smoked Windscreen
6. Tank Protector
7. Chrome swingarm spools
8. Yosh-Box ECU remap for M4 exhaust (Yosh-box not included)
9. Speedo-healer installed
10. 41T rear sprocket installed

Here is a list of recent maintenance items done to the bike (Most done within 100miles)

1. New Avon tires installed (Front and Rear)
2. Brand new oil and filter (Synth oil)
3. Chain adjusted and oiled
4. Steering stem bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease
5. Front and rear axle bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease
6. Valves checked and found in spec at 12k

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right front wheel

The owner also posted a walk-around video here.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r rear

Some useful and tasteful mods to this TLR, thankfully only one set of frame sliders.  Preventive maintenance very much appreciated.  Tested as needing a slight weight reduction for its sporting ambitions, the TL1000R can still lift the front wheel easily.  The video of the loping twin and $3500 buy-it-now almost had me planning a trip to Indy, not this time, but I think somebody will and be happy for it...


20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right rear

Re-Upped – 1999 Suzuki TL1000R
Ducati January 6, 2016 posted by Donn

White Sale – 2007 Ducati S4RS

Time was when retailers would put their sheets and towels on sale mid-winter to find a way out of the January doldrums.  A naked 998cc Testastretta would be a more RSBFS path to a winter thaw, and while the buy-it-now isn't really a bargain, the whopping white twin would be a special second or around town bike.

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs left (2)

2007 Ducati Monster S4RS for sale on eBay

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs right

After several years of leading the brand in sales, the factory introduced the S4, with the water-cooled 916 engine.  Things naturally got out of hand and using the 130 hp 4-cam engine from the 999, S4RS performance is well above any sensible naked, more of a rolling trophy case for Ducat-ista.  Trellis frame in beautiful red sets off the red-striped white bodywork, this one with red coolant pipes as well.

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs cockpit

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs front

Accents are also gold-anodized, the Ohlins forks ( fully adjustable along with Ohlins monoshock ) and on this bike, aftermarket controls, clutch hub and clutch slave.  Brembo brakes are oversized for a Monster but right for a Superbike - 320mm front disks with 4-piston radial-mounted calipers, and 245mm rear.  Carbon mudguards, side and belt covers match the black seat, and are helped by the upgraded carbon mufflers.  Special light alloy wheels help keep the weight under 400 lbs.

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs right front

Tucked away in the lake-effect snow belt, this Monster hasn't reached oil-change miles, and whatever the pity,  looks great for it.  From the eBay auction:

Collectors bike in "like new" condition with only 519 miles. Upgrades including Rizoma, Speedy Moto, Sato Racing & carbon exhaust. Title, factory manuals & "Red Key" in Sellers possession. This Ducati is one of a kind; a one-of-a-kind 'Monster.' Included are thousands of dollars of high-end components.

20160105 2007 ducati monster s4rs right rear

As the Monster was early to the naked party, the S4RS foresaw the super-naked revolution with power more than adequate to peel the unprotected rider right off.  Despite the mileage, cam belts will want changing before this bike takes a serious ride, though it could perfectly be retired to the gallery.  Maybe after a sparkling new chain with red, or maybe gold side plates...


White Sale – 2007 Ducati S4RS
Yamaha January 4, 2016 posted by Donn

Subdude – 1994 Yamaha FZR1000

Development of the FZR1000 had about reached its culmination in the early 1990's, and development of the succeeding Thunderace had begun.  The flagship continued consuming road miles by the ton, as it had since 1987.  Offered as the alternate livery from the team-inspired white/red/blue, the subdued flashiness of the 1994 model hangs together in a 90's kind of way, but the performance - 20-plus years old and a sub-11 second 1/4 mile - is ageless.

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 right

1994 Yamaha FZR1000 for sale on eBay

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 left rear

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 dash

Using the stamped and heli-arced aluminum for the perimeter frame and swingarm, Yamaha engineers provided enough rigidity to contain the irresistable 145 hp and 79 ft-lbs torque.  Adjustable for preload at both ends, 43mm upside-down forks and monoshock rear.  Yamaha's EXUP, a servo-controlled exhaust collector, provides a wider torque curve for the powerhouse.  Brakes are Porsche-like, 320mm dual disks in front with 6-piston calipers, and the rear of 267mm is commonly seen on the front of smaller bikes.  But we are talking triple-digit speeds and 1/4-ton weights.  Full fairing helps the rider hide from the gale, and sends ram-air down to the engine room.

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 right front

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 right rear

Previous riders must've been very careful as there is barely a mark divulging the 20,000 miles, and it appears completely stock save the orange windshield.  Nothing about past owners or maintenance history, but here's what's in the eBay auction:

Pictures speak for themselves! All stock, NO modifications!
Adult owned and gently ridden.

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 left front

20160103 1994 yamaha fzr1000 right radiator

Reviewed as a heavyweight road weapon, it's a stable high-speed platform, only real squawk being the lack of anti-dive up front.  No reason to zing the big motor with the amount of torque available, and it should be fine for another 20K miles.  With the fairing providing the feeling that the rider is glued to the bike which is glued to the road, they should go by quickly...


Subdude – 1994 Yamaha FZR1000
Honda January 2, 2016 posted by Donn

Best of Both Worlds – 1993 Honda NC30 Rossi Commemorative

How cool to have a great championship commemorative that you could just jump on and ride, almost without worry ?  Not a temperamental exotic as you'd expect a replica Moto GP replica to be, but a downsized but very sporty model with a winning drivetrain and graphics package.  Valentino Rossi's second season with Honda was a great championship year, Rossi winning 9 of 16 races.  At Valencia in 2003, his RC211V sported a 60's inspired psychedelic livery, transferred here to a sportbike which can almost be considered practical.

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi right

1993 Honda NC30 Rossi Commemorative for sale on eBay

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi left front

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi front

Often a gray-market import here because of its diminutive stature, the VFR-400R or NC30 has an exotic V4 400cc engine generating 59 hp.  Japanese 400's being speed limited, the welterweight shootout with Yamaha and Kawasaki mostly took place in Europe.  Looking and sounding like its older brother RC30, the 13,000 rpm redline machine has a twin-spar aluminum frame but right-side down forks and rear monoshock, both dual-adjustable.  Brakes are appropriately sized with twin front 269mm disks ( with 4-pot calipers ) on the 16-inch front wheel, and a smaller disk on the 18-inch rear.

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi right rear

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi rear

Whatever inspired the commemo-restoration ( might've been an accident, judging from the scraped speedometer ) they took it right to the hilt.  The fairing shapes have their similarities but a lot of differences, but just about every graphic element on the RC211V is on the NC30.  Otherwise it's a great looking low-mileage example.  From the eBay auction:







20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi left rear

20160101 1993 honda nc30 rossi right front wheel

Tested as the middle performer in the blue ( back then white and red ) and green sandwich, the NC30 was near the end of its run in 1993 and received a 1994 update along with the 750cc RC45.  The lighter weight and good balance of the smaller bikes made their sportiness more usable than their upmarket counterparts, almost more fun since you could really wring them out.  Less sure is how much value the replica paint adds to the value of an NC30, surely better than a wreck, it'll be in the eye of the beholder...


Best of Both Worlds – 1993 Honda NC30 Rossi Commemorative